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Armenia: Five continents joined for love, peace, and unity

11 May 2015 at 14:36 CEST
Today marks the first time for the Armenian band Genealogy to rehearse on stage in the Wiener Stadthalle. We have met the six members of the most international act of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest already early in the morning and accompanied them on their way to the arena. Their they rehearsed their song Face The Shadow for the first time, on a stage showing trees and ornaments in pink and purple. Check out our report!

In the beginning of their stage act, the six singers stand separated. During the first verse, only the respective artist who is currently singing is showing movements while the other five are standing still. Before the last chorus, the band members get close to each other in a circle and then walk to the front of the stage in a line, raising their hands for the final note of the song.

The light scene is set in purple and pink during the song, fitting the band's black stage costumes with purple elements. Traditional jewellery is part of the female singers' outfits.

The background scene shows trees bending in the wind, while smoke effects are used on the floor. A wind machine is used in the last part of the song, as well as pyrotechnical effects consisting of single shot flames in the stage front.

The stage floor first shows swirling lines when it is filmed from above, and towards the end, a very special effect is used: A world map is shown, on which the singers stand on their respective home countries.

Gallery: Armenia: First rehearsal

Backstage with Genealogy

The Armenian delegation arrived in Vienna already yesterday, so they were relaxed and in good spirit before their first rehearsal in the Stadthalle. met with them already at their hotel before going to the arena.

"Literally every Armenian is a big fan of Eurovision", Armen Martirosyan, composer of Face The Shadow, told us. "That's why everyone is very excited and following us closely."

How do you create a song that fits six different characters and music styles equally well? "It was a challenge", Armen Martirosyan admits. "I was even scared when I heard the idea of Building Bridges between the five continents and Armenia. There is not a billion Armenians in the world, so we managed to find five singers but of course they were of different genres. So the only solution for the song was the musical genre because it allows to join different styles together - opera, RnB, rock!"


Gallery: Armenia: Arriving at the arena

"Most people in Africa, with the exception of South Africa, have never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest, but at least in Ethiopia this is slowly changing", Vahe Tilbian tells us. So how is his own style represented in Face The Shadow? "Honstly speaking, I do a little bit of everything. I have released an independet album called Mixology just prior to this Eurovision Song Contest. It's anything between reggae, rock and love ballads."

"It's awesome that I get to bring my Japanese side and my Armenian side together with music, which is what I love to do", Stephanie Topalian explains. "Face The Shadow is about facing your difficulties and trying to overcome that. So the concept of the performance is that there is a tree, and the winds try to kill it. But we are strong, and all the six of us unite, so the tree can grow stronger", she reveals the story behind the stage performance.

Tamar Kaprelian has been living in the US but due to her family roots in the UK she is familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest. "One of my favourite bands is actually one that won Eurovision - ABBA. So I am very very excited to be in the same competition that so many amazing artists have been through", she tells us before going on stage for the first rehearsal of Genealogy.

Gallery: Armenia: Backstage before the first rehearsal

An Armenian Artist from Japan

Stephanie was born in August 5, 1987 to a Japanese mother, and an Armenian father in Los Angeles, California. Although Stephanie is residing in Japan she has a strong commitment to her Armenian background: Her Armenian grandparents relocated to the United States from Lebanon.

Starting singing at the young age of 13, and at the age of 19 Stephanie made her major debut in Japan from SME Records (SONY). She achieved the Best New Artist Award at the 49th Japan Record Awards in 2007 and afterwards released two albums.

Stephanie's songs have been widely featured in the Japanese Anime scene. Her 1st and 2nd single, Kimiga Iru Kagiri and Because Of You consecutively became the ending themes of the Anime Kiss Dum. In early 2008, her single Friends became the second ending theme for the Anime TV series Gundam 00. The song was listed in the top 10 of the Japanese Oricon charts.

As an actress Stephanie debuted in the film Pride in 2009, based on Yukari Ichijo's shĹŤjo comic. She portrayed the protagonist Shio Asami, and also took part in the film's theme song. In 2014 Stephanie also starred in Tokyo Tribe.

An Armenian Artist From Ethiopia

Vahe Tilbian is an Armenian-Ethiopian artist with an enthusiastic and bright character. He has a unique style: from rock to techno, from reggae to R&B, from Armenian to Ethiopian, and all that mixed with a lot of Latin music. This blend of cultures expresses Vahe’s personality and makes him stand out as an exclusive artist and a passionate dancer.

I am extremely honored, humbled and ecstatic to let you all know that I will be one of 6 artists to represent Armenia at the Eurovision song contest this year in Vienna, Austria.
I know you will all continue to support and encourage me along this bridge building journey of 6 destinies with 1 story. Peace, Love and Music to you all.


An Armenian Artist from the US

Tamar Kaprelian is a famous Armenian-American singer and songwriter. Since 2010, Tamar has released a full length album titled Sinner Or A Saint and a very personal EP titled California. Tamar is currently residing in New York City and with honest and uplifting songs, she takes listeners on a journey across the arcs of relationships and personal growth. 

To be included in this competition at a special time when we are commemorating such a landmark anniversary for Armenia is an amazing privilege for me. I am so excited to be joining a very talented group of artists to represent Armenia and America, and to share a positive message about peace and unity with the audiences.

An Armenian Artist from France

Essaï Altounian is of Armenian origin but has lived and debuted in France, where his grandparents had escaped in 1915. About that, he recently wrote and produced a song called Je n'oublie pas / ChemMorana.

At the age of 12 Essaï composed his first song and at the age of 19 signed a contract with Sony France as lead singer of the urban and pop idol group "Ideal-3", with whom he scored a top ten hit with Pardonne-moi. 

When Essai was 21 he left the band and signed a solo contract with Mercury Universal. He cooperated with Jenifer and composed songs for her album, which eventually received the Diamond Plaque award. He played the role of Count Paris in Gerard Presgurvic’s musical comedy Romeo and Juliet, the album of which sold 2 million copies. The musical comedy Le Roi Soleil for Warner Music France, for which he wrote S'aimer est interdit, went double Platinum with over 3 million tickets sold during the three years of its run. 

Taking a big leap across the Atlantic to the United States, EssaĂŻ reached out to Kerry Gordy from Motown music. The first single produced with him, Family, has been an up-tempo, urban song that pays homage to the sanctity of those who are closest to you. His new album will be released in the beginning of 2016.

An Armenian Artist from Australia

Mary-Jean O’Doherty Vasmatzian was born in Houston, Texas to an Armenian-Greek mother and an Australian father. Pursuing studies at North Carolina School of the Arts and East Carolina University Mary-Jean has received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and Flute performance as well as Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2005.

Studying singing in Sydney with Arax Mansourian in 2008, Mary-Jean O’Doherty was the first recipient of the Australian International Opera Award to study at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, directed by the international tenor Dennis O'Neill. Mary-Jean O’Doherty was the first recipient of the Australian International Opera Award to study at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, directed by the international tenor Dennis O'Neill.

In 2010, Mary-Jean performed the role of Naiad and covered the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos for the Welsh National Opera and one year later she performed the title role of Lucia in Prague State Opera's production of Lucia di Lammermoor. She debuted at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 2011 singing in Raymond Gubbay's Classical Spectacular concert and in 2012 took a young artist residency with the Opera Theater of St. Louis. 

In 2013 Mary-Jean won the first prize in Paris Opera Awards. She won The Mathy Award, and sung in the final concert with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Maestro Richard Bonynge. The rich list of her performances include the Maid in Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face for English National Opera, the role of Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for the Tel Aviv Vocal Arts Institute, and Despina in Così fan tutte.

An Armenian Artist - from Armenia! 

The 6th member of the group is the famous and honored singer of the Republic of Armenia Inga Arshakyan. She will be the one to replenish the group of five singers symbolizing the five continents of the world on Eurovision stage – Essai Altounian, Tamar Kaprelian, Vahe Tilbian, Stephanie Topalian, and Mary-Jean O’Doherty Vasmatzian.

The powerful and inspiring voice of Inga has been the pearl of many Armenian patriotic songs performed along with her sister Anush Arshakyan. Being a bold representative of the Armenian folk music and culture, Inga has already had the experience to perform in the Eurovision stage in a duet as Inga & Anush Arshakyan in 2009.  

Gallery: Armenia: Genealogy at the backstage studio